Final observations on trying new things

I’m almost there – a  year of doing something new every day!

I’ve decided to summarise my project by answering some of the questions I’ve been asked over the year. If you are inspired to give this a go yourself, let me know, on here or on Twitter!

Do you really do something every day or do you let yourself off sometimes?

Every day! Some days aren’t very inspired – I often resort to the theme of food – but on other days I do multiple new things. If something went wrong on a particular day, I have confessed in my blog.

How do you find time?

Sometimes it’s tricky but it wouldn’t take much planning for an organised person to fit it into a busy life – we all do new things already even if we aren’t always good at recognising them. It did feel great on the days when I got my new thing out of the way really early in the day, though!

Is it expensive?

I spent a lot at times but it doesn’t have to be costly – cooking, free events, volunteering, free apps, cheap hobbies, learning, exploring, writing and the workplace all offer opportunities.

What’s been your favourite new thing?

Joining the lovely choir – it was one of my early ones and has stayed with me all year, leading to more new things (like our concert) but also being therapeutic in its own right. Hobbies are great for generating regular opportunities for doing new things. My favourites were often creative, such as my cooking successes (crumpets 7 Febokonomiyaki 7 Aug and Victoria sponge 30 Oct), papercutting (17 Nov) and flower arranging (1 July).

What motivated you to do this?

I did a couple of out-of-character things towards the end of last year when I was feeling particularly down, and saw that they had done me good and it grew from there. I often set myself odd challenges instead of traditional resolutions – it’s much more positive and fun and it doesn’t matter so much if you fail, although failure is less likely than it is when you decide to go to the gym regularly or give up cake! It would’ve been a really bad time for me to set myself a resolution that I then failed to keep.

What positive outcomes have you had?

So many unexpected things – new friends and rekindled friendships, discovering blogging, being invited to unusual activities (as people knew I would say yes), keeping busy and being distracted at difficult times, feeling more capable and independent, and getting round to doing things I’d been meaning to do for ages like working out how to use my juicer! It has also forced me to do things I’d done previously but never alone, like going to a gig on my own (30 Nov).

What was the worst/hardest/weirdest thing?

I was a bit scared about stewarding at a festival and it was hard work at times but very rewarding and fun and I am hoping to do it again next year. Gutting a fish was weird and unplanned. The worst one may have been watching the live results of a vote on TV overnight – I’m never doing that again, being tired did not help with the misery that was the Brexit referendum and staying awake through the USA nightmare would not have changed the outcome.

Are you going to carry on doing it?

It seems a shame to develop a useful habit and then break it. Maybe I won’t be able to stop! I think for wellbeing purposes I will continue noting down all the new things I do – and saying yes to random invitations because I haven’t regretted any of them! I’ll also keep adding to (and ticking off) my reserve list of new things to try – I suppose it’s like a bucket list that includes more realistic items and without the ‘before I die’ connotations. And I’m very tempted to carry on with the Challenge Weeks somehow.

Have any new things become part of your life?

fb_img_1483115369879Besides the choir, a few things have stuck easily, such as using my Botanic Garden membership (6 Jan) and mowing the lawn, one being a lifeline and the other a life skill I didn’t have! And of course I started this blog after my first month and I’m still at it.

It was hard to continue with my favourite things with the constant quest to find new ones but next year I plan to pick some of my favourites and spend more time on them. But the awareness and appreciation of trying new things are definitely habits now and hopefully with me for life! And I’ll probably carry on badgering other people to try it, too.

See also ‘New things become normal things‘ from July.

How has it helped you and what have you learnt?

I have written about this in my ‘Thoughts about trying new things’ posts.

How have other people reacted?

Everyone has been great. A handful of people have been a bit dismissive of some the things I have done but they’ve kind of missed the point and unless they have done every single thing on my list, it isn’t going to bother me. People have more often been intrigued, surprised, encouraging, enthusiastic, bossy (‘It could be your new thing’ – ‘Oh ALL RIGHT THEN’) and possibly a bit relieved that I haven’t just turned into a hermit. I’ve even ended up talking to strangers about it – for instance, when I bought a new fruit and neither I nor the checkout chap could remember what it was, I felt it necessary to explain why I’d bought this mystery fruit and we had a lovely chat. Best of all, lots of people have been inspiring by joining in with their own new things, some of them quite brave.

What advice would you have for someone else who wanted to do this?

  • Keep a list of possible new things. Ask your friends for tips. You won’t run out of ideas but it’s handy to think about types of things you could do (online, creative, free, local, quick).
  • Make a storecupboard for inspiration and emergency days – new foodstuffs, craft materials, even gadgets you’ve had ages and never used.
  • Don’t worry if your new things aren’t very adventurous! The ‘habit’ part is important and some of my favourite and most memorable things have been tiny, such as pouring a pint and walking down a new street.
  • If there are some brave, big or difficult things you want to try, you will need to plan them. I haven’t been very good at this.
  • If you’re worried about spending too much money, set yourself a monthly budget.
  • Involve other people if you can. Even strangers have given me ideas, and I can see that my friends with children have made good use of them as a source of inspiration during Challenge Weeks!

What is today’s new thing?

I get asked this a lot, which is very nice. Often my answer is ‘I don’t know yet’! But today I am in the Guardian!

Are  you going to write a book?

No, you’ve had the best of me in this blog!

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